Marriage and the Family
Key Words Cohabitation - Living together without being married.
A legal ceremony giving a Civil homosexual couple the partnership - same legal rights as a husband and a wife.
Pre-marital sex - Sex before marriage. Promiscuity - Having sex with a number of partners without commitment.
A sexual act between a married person and someone other than their marriage partner.
How attitudes have changed • Most now have sex before getting married. • Socially acceptable for couples to live together before getting married. • Average age to be married is 31.8 or men and 29.7 for women. • Divorce now accepted as a normal part of life. • Homosexual sex treated same as hetrosexual sex. • A considerable rise in single parent families.
Changing nature of family life Nuclear family -
Mother, father and children living as a unit.
Re-constituted family -
Where two sets of children (step brothers etc) become one family when their divorced parents marry each other.
Reasons for the changes 1. 2. 3. 4.
Cohabitation and marriage Divorce Family Life Homosexuality
Cohabitation and Marriage • Contraception made it safer to have sex without becoming pregnant. • Christianity asked people to save sex before marriage but it lost influence. • TV and film showed such reltionships as the norm.
Divorce • 1969 law made divorce cheaper and easier for normal people to get. • Increased equality for women led to them no longer accepting unequal treatment from men. • Demographic changes – 100 years ago men had more than 1 wife due to death during child birth. Divorces happen after 10 years which was he average length of a marriage 100 years ago.
Family Life • Increase in divorce led to increase in remarriage and reconstituted families. • Increase in number of cohabiting couples means more children living with unmarried parents. • Social acceptance of un-married mothers has led to an increase in single-parent families.
Homosexuality • Changes in the law have made it easier to be openly homosexual. • Research shows homosexuality is genetic and not a ‘choice’ so people are more accepting. • Openly homosexual celebrities have made it more acceptable.
Christian attitudes to sex outside marriage
Most believe that sex outside of marriage is wrong.
Pre-marital Sex Christians believe it is wrong because… • God gave sex in order for procreation. So it should take place in marriage.
• The Bible sees this and promiscuity as being sinful. • All Churches teach that it is wrong.
Some Christians accept that couples live together before getting married. Expect them to marry before starting a family. Only allow sex in a committed and long term relationship.
They have this attitude because… • Believe the Church has to come to terms with modern life.
• Jesus taught that love is the most important thing.
Extra-marital sex All Christians believe that sex with other people when married (adultery) is wrong because… •Breaks the wedding vows e.g. be faithful. • Condemned by Jesus and the 10 Commandments.
Purpose of marriage in Christianity Couple can have life long relationship of love and faithfulness. Why Marry?
Raising a Christians family
Couple can support and comfort each other
Procreation of children
‘From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female…This is why a man must leave his father and mother, and the two become one body. They are no longer two…what God has united, man must not divide.’ (Mark.10:6-10)
Purpose of Marriage shown in the ceremony 1. Life long relationship of love and faithfulness is shown in… • Exchange of vows. • Rings symbolise unending nature • Readings and prayers reflect these things.
2. Support and comfort of the couple shown in… • Couple say they will love and support each other in the vows. • Readings and sermon refer to need to support and comfort each other. • Preparation before the ceremony will reflect on this aspect.
3. Procreation of children is shown in… • Preparation before the ceremony will reflect on this aspect. • The service refers to the gift of children as the purpose of marriage. • Prayers said refer to the gift of children.
Catholic service ‘Are you ready to love and honour each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives? Are you ready to accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?’
4. Bringing up a Christian family shown in…
• Preparation before the ceremony talks about how best to raise a Christian family. • A prayer for God to grant the gift of children is said.
Changing attitudes to divorce Faithfulness -
Staying with your marriage partner and having sex only with them.
Remarriage - Marrying again after being divorced from a previous marriage.
Discussion ‘Divorce often means poor exam results, damaged health and stress, four times the risk of needing psychiatric help as a child and a greater risk of breakdown in middle age.’ Dr Patrick Dixon, ‘The rising price of love’
Christian attitudes to divorce There are two attitudes… 1)Catholic = not allowed. Only the death of one of the partners can end the relationship.
However, they do allow an annulment (this says the marriage never existed). Must prove the marriage was never consummated or that it was not a true Christian marriage.
An annulment is given for any reason as long as the couple can prove to the church that one of them was not fully aware of what marriage meant… Too young
Mentally unprepared Forced into marriage
Catholic evidence ‘The marriage bond has been established by God himself…and it can never be dissolved.’ ‘The re-marriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ.’ Catholic Catechisms
2)Most non-Catholic churches think that divorce is wrong but allow it if the marriage has broken down. It is the ‘lesser of two evils.’
These churches allow remarriage but they must talk to a minister first about why their first marriage failed.
Sometimes they will be asked to repent (say sorry) for their first marriage failing or promise that this marriage will be for life.
Evidence – other Christians
‘The possibility of new relationships and, where appropriate, a new marriage is to be welcomed.’
Statement from the Methodist church
Why different attitudes? Christians interpret the Bible in different ways and disagree if marriage is a sacrament.
Catholic Church • Jesus taught divorce was wrong (Mark). • Couple have made an agreement with God, in the sacrament of marriage. Can’t be broken by earthly powers.
Non-Catholics • Jesus allowed divorce for adultery (Matt.19:9) • Christians are allowed forgiveness for confessed sins. Should be the same for marriage. • Better to divorce than live in hatred.
Evidence Jesus said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another is guilty of adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she is guilty of adultery too.’ (Mark.10:1012) So if you are a Catholic who has a civil divorce then in the eyes of the church you are still married.
Evidence Now I say to you: the man who divorces his wife – I am not speaking of fornication – and marries another, is guilty of adultery. (Matt.19:8-9) Some understand this to mean that it is OK to divorce on the grounds of adultery.
Christian teachings on family life Purpose of marriage is to have children and to raise them in a secure and loving Christian environment, so they will love God and follow Jesus.
Children to respect parents. (Teaching of Paul and 4th Commandment)
Parents to treat children well (Paul)
Christian family life Children to care for parents when they are old. (Jesus’ teachings and 4th Commandment
Provide children with necessities of life and raise them Christian
Why is family life so important to Christians Family created by God. It is the basis for society and the only place for children to be raised.
It is where children learn the difference between right and wrong. Help Christianity to grow.
Evidence Children be obedient to your parents… that is your duty. Honour your father and mother and you will prosper and have a long life…parents, never drive your children to resentment…but correct them and guide them as the Lord does. (Ephesians.6:1-6)
How does the church help to raise children? • Church schools – educate about the faith. • First communion and Baptism classes. • Sunday schools – educate in the faith. • Church run youth clubs – keep children out of trouble
• Scouts etc encourage community service and charity. • Priests give advice to couples with family problems. • Churches provide charities to help families e.g. Catholic Marriage Care, The Children’s Society (CofE)
How the Church helps with Family life • Priests give advice to couples having problems. • Many churches now have family friendly services. • Through the Methodist Youth Conference and CofE Youth Council they make sure they are meeting needs of young people.
Homosexuality Homosexuality -
Sexual attraction to the same sex.
Heterosexuality - Sexual attraction to the opposite sex.
Christian attitudes to Homosexuality There are 3 main attitudes… 1)Evangelical Christian = a sin 2)Catholics = homosexual activity is a sin
3)Liberal Protestants = fully equal
Evangelical Christians It is a sin. Think Christianity can stop people being homosexual. Have prayer meetings to change people.
• Bible condemns homosexuality – Leviticus.18:22
Evidence ‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.’ Leviticus.18:22
Roman Catholics Being homosexual is not a sin. Homosexual activity is. It asks them to be celibate. It condemns homophobia.
•Bible condemns homosexuality – 1Corinthians.6:9 •Tradition of the Church and the teaching of ‘magisterium’.
Evidence ‘…the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God…neither the immoral, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts.’ (1Cor.6:9)
‘…the Church teaches that homosexual people must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.’ (Catholic Bishops’ Conference, 2004)
Should be complete equality for homosexuals as long as the relationship is stale and they are faithful. •Teachings of the Bible need reinterpreting. They reflect Jewish culture at the time not God’s teachings.
•The Spirit can guide as much as the Bible. If the Spirit approves it can’t be denied.
Evidence ‘…How can (the Bible) be based on (the resurrection)…transforming pain, suffering and death into life, liberation and healing, and yet call for the misery and death of lesbians and gay men.’ G.D Comstock ‘Gay Theology without Apology’
Christian attitudes to contraception
Key words Contraception -
Intentionally preventing pregnancy from occurring. Procreation – making a new life
Different methods of Contraception 1. Natural Methods • Most common form is natural family planning (NFP). Sex is planned for the least fertile times of the month. It is complicated! • Another method measures hormone levels in the urine. Done correctly these methods are 94% effective. • Need to be in loving relationship. Does not prevent STIs.
Different methods of Contraception 2. Artificial methods • Many types exist. Barrier methods e.g. condom which stops sperm reaching the egg. Hormonal drugs e.g. the pill stop a woman producing eggs. • These can be used without planning and you do not need to be in a relationship. Effective in stopping the spread of STIs.
Christianity and contraception 2 main attitudes… 1) Catholics are against all forms of artificial contraception. It goes against God’s intentions because…
• Sex is for marriage in order to create new life.
• Casti Conubii (1930) Pope Pius IX condemned all forms of artificial contraception. • 1968 Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae affirms rhythm method is only contraception allowed because it is natural and part of God’s plan.
However, some Catholics disagree… • Use role of the conscience and teachings of US Catholic Bishops in Human Life in Our Day to justify use of contraception in marriage.
Jesus said ‘the man who comes to me I will never turn away.’ (John.6:37) Meaning – if you have used contraception and you are a good Catholic do not worry too much because Jesus will forgive.
‘The use of contraception that…renders procreation impossible is intrinsically evil.’ Catechism of the Catholic Church
2) non-Catholics allow contraception because… • Raises standard of living and education for children as there are fewer.
• God created sex for enjoyment to cement bonds of marriage – not just for children. • Lambeth Conference (1930) allows CofE to limit family size by using contraception.
‘Contraception is seen as a gift from medical science under God’s sovereignty…those contraceptives…that are considered to take human life should be avoided.’ Statement by the Baptist Church.
Issues in The Media • The
Pregnant Man documentary • Most Hated Family in America